Lithuania: Ministers criticise proposal to close Russian schools

Lithuania’s Justice Minister, Ewelina Dobrowolska, warned against “populism” over the issue of Russian schools, BNS reported. Earlier, Education Minister Gintautas Jakstas suggested that Lithuania follow Estonia and Latvia in closing Russian schools. Speaking in an interview with Ziniu Radijas, Dobrowolska conceded that minority education faced challenges but insisted that they be dealt with by ensuring quality education rather than by closing schools. Economy Minister Ausrine Armonaite said that closing Russian schools would be a “terrible mistake.” The Department of National Minorities (TMDe) warned that closing Russian schools would “destroy the structure of a multiethnic society built over three decades.” The department insisted that it was wrong to link Russian language with support for Russia’s military aggression. Meanwhile, Asta Skaisgiryte, chief foreign policy adviser to President Gitanas Nauseda, argued that national minority schools were a “Soviet legacy.”